My Blog

Purpose-Driven Entrepreneurship and My New Business

I can’t believe I’m saying this: I’m building another company. I was afraid of this for a long time. Afraid of the long hours, sleepless nights, and never-ending deadlines. But right now I feel excitement and promise. Yes, it’s early, but what I’m most excited about isn’t just what I am doing, but how I am doing it: 



As a gift to my customers. 

I want to share the live details as I build my business in a new way. It’s my shot at staying true to my belief of “new wealth.” It’s not about a specific amount of money, it focuses instead on freedom, flexibility, and creativity as the new currency for entrepreneurs. This is my version of purpose-driven entrepreneurship. I want to show where it works and fails. All in an effort to inspire others to build in a similar way that aligns to their soul, calling, and joy.

My reluctant journey back to building

After I sold my company and moved to Hawaii, I swore off starting another company (besides my coaching practice). Ideally I would turn into a monk, surf a bunch, and finally feel content with life. Let’s just say I’m not a monk surfer. I still felt the longing in me to build. 

Four months ago a business idea hit me like a lightning bolt. And I resisted the hell out of it! I had built this story that starting a business would take away my flexibility and time I could spend with my community.  I was scared I would tank my mental health, become overwhelmed with stress, and be unable to sleep thinking about business issues. It was like a PTSD, kicking-and-screaming response: NO.

But I also subscribe to the notion that I am not the creator of ideas, I’m a vessel for them. The Universe (or Source or God) is the one that chooses you as the transporter of an idea that needs to exist at this time and place in reality. 

Rick Rubin details this beautifully, saying, “The total output of human creativity, in all its kaleidoscopic breadth, pieces together the fabric forming our culture…Rarely ever do we know the grand intention, yet, if we surrender to the creative impulse, our singular piece of the puzzle takes its proper shape.”

I love the idea of “surrendering to the creative impulse.” It allows me to trust that my intuition is guiding me towards truth and the benefit of others. This departs from Silicon Valley lore that says the billion dollar business that scales to millions of people is the only way to create real change in the world. What if it was more simple than that? What if it was about honoring the kernel of truth and movement in you that has the drive to create? This is what I believe is the essence of purpose-driven entrepreneurship.

Silicon Valley also cheapens ideas, saying they are a dime a dozen. But what if an inspired idea is actually sacred? This is a totally different idea generation process. It wasn’t about whiteboarding and brainstorming. The idea hit me like a strike of lightning, like my intuitive rod surged with electric energy.

I’ve felt this feeling with some of the most important things in my life. When I walked onto the campus of USC (my now alma mater), I felt it. When I met my chosen sister, Jess Mah, I felt the hit. And when something deep within me told me to start a business, I followed it.

When I have that feeling, I listen. Although this time, I was still reluctant.

Building it my way

While I stiff-armed my idea, the question hit me, “What if I built this company differently?”

What if this were all part of the grand experiment I’m running: to live slowly, intentionally, and with presence? I had assumed that a standard business couldn’t fit into this lifestyle, that commerce had to be carved out. But life isn’t about picking and choosing where we can be authentic – at least not for me. I’ve always run experiments in bringing my whole self to work. Chewse was the biggest of all, where the culture was a mix of love and excellence. It is still one of the things I built that I’m the most proud of. 

What if I built a product that helps people slow down to find joy and I also built it in a slow way that brings me joy? This new brand and process is going to reflect where I am now. It’s the meta of building. Don’t just say you have a mission, but for god’s sake aspire to live it daily. This, to me, is purpose-driven entrepreneurship in its truest form.

As a starting point (I’d love your input here!), my new tenets of building look like:

1. My company is a gift I offer the world

Creatives have different canvases. Some play stringed instruments, others use their voice to sing, still others wield the pen as their instrument of expression. For me, business is my creative outlet. It’s my playground and building a company makes my heart giddy like a child building sandcastles. 

Who needs another widget in the world of Amazon? I want to offer this brand as a gift of presence. I want to build a product that brings calm into people’s busy lives. 

I’m in a blessed position that I get to think about this business in such a pure way. I have my primary income, so there isn’t the pressure for this business to grow quickly. I don’t have to build this business to survive; I choose to build this business. Not to prove to myself that I can. And not to learn how to scale a company. I’ve learned those things.

This time, building a business is an expression of something I champion in my daily life. It’s the gift that I want to share with the world. That way of viewing my business is hugely motivating to me. Of course I still want it to grow and make money. But that’s the byproduct of the business, not the why. This is the core of purpose-driven entrepreneurship.

2. I work alongside my intuition

I’m inviting my feminine side into this company in two ways: intuition and flow. 

My masculine side is more structured and deadline-oriented. Its aim is to achieve and it focuses on output. It served me well building my last company, but I also learned that if I let it drive too much I would lose my intuition, creative edge, and motivation.

My feminine is driving at this stage. She builds from a place of trust, flow, and receptivity. I don’t put my tasks in Asana. After I wrap up my coaching work for the day, I check in with myself and see what part of the business I want to work on. I trust that my intuition knows exactly where I need to spend my time.

I used to lean heavily on advisors. I was 21 when I started my last company, and I didn’t have any experience. But I saw the damage that advisor whiplash caused me, as I failed to align with my own instincts.

This time, I’m using my intuition to guide everything from the name to how I spend my daily time. When something leaks out of my subconscious and becomes conscious, I give it a good turn. I trust that it’s arriving at the perfect time. I don’t go 100% with intuition, but I’m giving it the right of first refusal. This approach embodies purpose-driven entrepreneurship.

3. I savor my work 

The feminine side of the polarity has a deep connection to the senses and sensuality. This part finds pleasure in the present moment, and it enjoy being not just doing. This is a toughie for me, because I come from an immigrant family where work is survival, not pleasure. 

But I’m 35 now and I have options on how to make money (thank you ancestors for getting me to this country!). So why not freaking enjoy it? I saw myself and many other entrepreneurs who run businesses joylessly, chasing the carrot of a future payout. One that statistically is unlikely to arrive. Then one day you wake up burnt out and wondering if the whole journey was a crapshoot. 

I want to build with joy this time around. I want to align with the areas of the business and the tasks that I care the most about. This links back to my first point, because part of savoring my work is learning how to build a brand that brings a core personal philosophy into the world. It’s so enjoyable.

I also want to take breaks from work when it stops serving joy. I have this sneaking suspicion that consistently joyless work is an unconscious cry that I’m misaligned. Misalignment doesn’t serve the business. I will scaffold my days with flexibility to take a step back and question when my work isn’t tasty to me anymore. This is crucial for practicing purpose-driven entrepreneurship.

The fears on the path

These are the raw, honest questions on my heart as I build in this new way:

Can I build in a way that supports my mental health and my ambition?

Can I build slowly? Not lazily, but thoughtfully?

Can I give space to the organic speed of the creative process?

This is the thought exercise that has been on my mind for years. I didn’t get a chance to try this with my venture-backed company, but being a few years from sale with more time and space on my hands, I have the freedom to give it a shot this time around.

I hope you’ll offer me up some grace as I write and share more publicly about this new operating system I’m designing. And I dearly hope I convince you to give your own version of purpose-driven entrepreneurship a shot too.

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